“It must be said, says Shenzhen Evening News today, “that going home for Spring Festival is a deeply ingrained desire of all Chinese people.” That’s to say, all of 1.3 billion Chinese people. Hence the annual Spring Festival rush is a migration of epic proportions characterized by pushing, waiting, queuing, standing for hours, and generally having your stamina severely tested. So why haven’t more things been invented to make this difficult journey just a little more convenient? The front page of the Shenzhen Evening News today illustrates that some attempts have actually been made in this regard, and it showcases some odd contraptions such as the Hard Seat Helper and the Ostrich Pillow. There’s even a new portable “convenience” tool to help you go when you can’t go. So if you are going to do the Spring Festival rush this year, consider getting yourself one of the following (somewhat) helpful gadgets.
Sleep whenever you want to: The Hard Seat Helper (硬座宝)
This year’s hottest spring festival transport tool, the Hard Seat Helper can turn any seat into a dream world. Using a simple, upright design with two pads for the head and chest, the Hard Seat Helper is great for taking short naps but as much of the upper body weight is still resting on the waist, it won’t be suitable for sleeping all the way. Best to combine with some good old leg stretching every now and then.
Lying down in cramped spaces: The Ostrich Pillow (鸵鸟枕)
Fitting over the head and with holes for mouth and eyes, the Ostrich Pillow looks ridiculous, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Designed by UK company Kawamura-Ganjavian after a successful Kickstarter campaign, the Ostrich Pillow has been described as “micro environment in which to take a warm and comfortable power nap”, anywhere.
Convenience in crowded spaces: The Portable Urine Collector (PUC)
This ingenious little thing collects the material and then solidifies it, one use only. Enough said.
Others: Screaming Chicken (惨叫鸡) and Don’t Step on My Shoes (拒踩柳丁鞋)
Of the more useless inventions there are these two. The Screaming Chicken is a long, thin rubber chicken that emits a horrible squawking sound when pressed. Meant to repel people from coming to close to you in public transport, will never work for a second in China.
The Don’t Step on My Shoes are really very simple: shoes with lots of spikes on them, meant to discourage people from stepping on your toes in queues. Worth a try.
See below for various Spring Festival transportation stories that Danwei has covered since 2005.
Links and sources
Shenzhen Evening News (深圳晚报): 创意神器Hold住回家路
Danwei: Spring Festival transport starts (2005); The Spring Festival rush officially begins (2008); How to get a ticket home for the holidays (2009); Kids in the train station (2009); Why are we no longer making progress? (2011); Big Iron’s broken promises (2011)